EV 1515 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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EV 1515 (Hints)

Enigmatic Variations 1515 (Hints)

Disguise by Jaques

Hints and tips by The Numpties

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Jaques is familiar to EV solvers and to Magpie solvers too (with a crossword rated D in the current Magpie). A debut Inquisitor crossword has recently appeared and he has two Listener crosswords to his name. We expect a challenge.

Preamble:  Half the clues are normal but their answers must be entered with DISGUISE, producing a real word for entry. Each of the remaining clues has a misprint in its definition, in clue order the correct letters offer some advice. Chambers Dictionary (2016) is recommended.

The Numpties hadn’t solved long before we realized that we sorely needed the advice that corrected letters of misprints would produce. Our advice to ourselves, when we are struggling, is to go back to the preamble and read it carefully. Of course, as solving progresses with an EV, a penny usually drops with a clang.


10a         Money found on tree advanced growth (5)
There are three clue elements here. Two of them are single letters.

14a         Once discourage from using dragnets on and off (4)
The ‘once’ tells us that we have an archaic or obsolete word as the solution.

17a         Almost catch marsupial, loosely Australian vole (6)
This clue was tough but once you have most of the letters, you can back-solve. We used all but one of the letters of a word for ‘catch’ and added a casual word for the marsupial producing an unfamiliar word. Of course, the difficulty in this crossword is enhanced by the need to remember that we have to correct misprints in the definitions of half of the clues to find that all-important hint.

27a         What remains of set maybe after flinching group’s first idiot turns tail (5)
We struggled here too: we needed to understand (with Chambers help) what ‘flinching’ could mean, and to remember, again, that half the clues have a misprinted letter. One of the Numpties knew this unusual word that ‘turns tail’ when you have combined the group and the idiot.

33a         Essentially noble wild animal is odd description of mankind (7)
A more gentle clue prompting us to use the ‘essential’ part of a word and anagram another word.


2d            Nicola finally to leave rising ancient danger warning for Holyrood to crumble (4)
The Scottish indicator was clear. We realized that we had to remove Nicola’s last bit from a longer ancient word then turn that upside down to find our Scottish ‘crumble’.

5d            Changing cash into pounds could be seduced by this! (8)
As usual, the Big Dave convention of underlining the definition parts of clues will be a help, prompting us how to handle the wordplay, producing a word we needed to confirm in Chambers.

7d          Tibetans make this to devout Buddhist’s ultimate style of music (6)
As above, the underlining prompts that we have to create the defined word by adding a letter to the ‘style of music’.

11d         Lily no longer mobile, having relapsed, it could be useful to develop old shops (5)
We needed an old word for ‘lily’ and a letter, all ‘relapsing’ giving another word that took us to Chambers.

24d         Produce terrible rendition of Queen following rejection of beat  (6)
The wordplay (with yet another word for inverting a clue element) spells a relatively unusual usage of the defined solution. Of course, this Queen must be the pop group.

31d         Deserted academy and artistic diploma, they weren’t wanted for this (4)
We put together some abbreviations to produce a solution that required some general knowledge (provided in Chambers, of course).

The clues were a challenging set and, even with that clang of the dropping penny we had to work steadily to finally have a rewarding gridfill.

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4 comments on “EV 1515 (Hints)

  1. A very nice Penny Drop Moment about a third of the way in, and then all was plain sailing after a choppy start. I suppose Jaques must have had a similar PDM when conceiving the theme. Thanks to him/her/them for a cheery puzzle with some tricky clues that all turned sunny side up at the end.

  2. What a great penny drop moment! Really glad I made the time to tackle this one. Many thanks Jaques.

  3. This was quite a struggle – tough clues combined with an inability to fill the grid reliably until the “advice” had been discovered, thus requiring most to be solved “cold”. The penny dropped two-third through and the backfill was then reasonably simple.
    Thanks to Jacques and The Numpties.

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